My son loves cars and trucks and things that go. He is fast and loud and boisterous. Wherever we go, he gets approving comments (“He’s such a boy!”) — sometimes with an eye roll, but still clearly approving.
My son also loves dolls and princess dresses and sparkly wands, and, given a choice, he will always pick out the pink and purple crayons.
But apparently nobody sees that, because nobody ever comments on it. Or if they do, it’s to laugh and say he’s just copying his big sister.
My son is two and a half years old, and so far (thankfully!) he seems to be unaware of what is just around the corner: the realisation that those things are “for girls” and, most likely, the abandonment of his current preference for purple pants and pink shoes.
Maybe he’ll continue to play princess at home, but I doubt he’ll choose to take his dolls and wands to daycare.
My son has enough “boy” characteristics — fast, loud, truck-loving — that I don’t think this abandonment of his “girl” toys and clothes will be too hard for him, but it kind of breaks my heart.
What breaks my heart even more are the daily affirmations of his “boyishness” — by well-meaning strangers and self-identified liberal friends alike — with never a positive word about his love for pink.
Listen: We need to reclaim the term ‘throw like a girl’. Because throwing like a girl is fierce. Andrew Daddo and Holly Wainwright discuss on This Glorious Mess, our podcast for imperfect parents. Post continues after audio.
Yes, he’s always excited to receive truck- and train-themed gifts, but the last time we went to the doctor, he picked a princess sticker over a car sticker, and when I gave him a choice of pink cups or blue cups, he chose the pink.
Because my son comes across as so “boyish,” I’m sure many people think I choose to dress him in purple pants and pink shoes out of stubbornness. They assume I’m that man-hating feminist mother who can’t accept that her son is a boyish boy.
No. My son likes trains and princesses. He chose to pair that truck shirt with those butterfly leggings.
He’s not “such a boy,” he’s a child whose many interests have not yet been thwarted by a culture that forces him to pick a team, and before this precious time expires, I wish more people would see and embrace the whole of him.